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Scotland with a one year old

Some family have recently moved to London and we are considering visitng them next spring. Our son will be a little over a year old at that point. I haven't been to London but my husband has, so we would want to get out of the city and spend a week elsewhere too. Scotland is high on both of our lists. This is in the VERY early stanges of planning, but a couple questions come to mind:

1) Are we crazy to even be considering this? Has anyone toured Scotland with a baby/toddler? It's likely the little guy will be mobile or close to it by then. He's pretty chill right now but I know that can be a game changer! This is kind of our one shot for a while if we were to do this- we can't go any earlier but if we didn't go next year it would likely be several years before it would be feasible again. I'm also getting the itch for another international trip, but don't want to be selfish if this is a bad idea. I know we will have to go at a slower pace, and I'm ok with that.

2) We are interested in castles, scenery, historic sites, and walks/hikes. My initial hunch would be to spend a couple days in Edinburgh and then somewhere in the country (but not too far from there) for a couple days to experience a smaller town and do some day hikes and/or visit a couple other castles. Any suggestions for a place to base ourselves? We'd be interested in both coastal or inland hilly locations. Also, we would likely only rent a car for the countryside part.

3) Would we be better off going to the Lake District or somehwere else instead?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted by
5678 posts

I think that you will run into many of the same issues that parents run into when they travel with their children. My sister took hers on AmTrak when my niece was a toddler (and her brother not much older) and they went from upstate NYC to Chicago and it was the first of many happy trips. In Edinburgh you'll have hills, but lots of lovely parks for running around in or taking breaks. If walks on beaches is appealing Portobello came to mind, but here's an article on several.

If you want to get out into the country, I would recommend heading to the Trossachs or up into Perthshire. The Trossachs is a national park with lots of walking trails. I also enjoyed the steam boat ride on Loch Katrine. I know that you can rent bikes, but I don't know what they might have to accommodate toddlers. You could contact them. You can see about the cruises on the same link.

Perthshire has lots of walks as well. I really enjoy Dunkeld and the walks in that area. There is a sweet little Beatrix Potter garden in Birnam which is just over the bridge. There a great pub there as well--the Taybank. You can go to Aberfeldy and to the Birk's of Aberfeldy walk and then head over the Crannog Centre. The Centre had activities for young children, but I am not sure that they went as young as toddlers.

You might want to look at this site. And, here's an article on days out with kids in Scotland. Check out Historic Environment Scotland for events that are child friendly. I think that they go quite young. I think you could have a lovely time in Scotland with your toddler.

Posted by
3122 posts

If you have a week for Scotland in addition to whatever time you're going to spend in London, it should work out well. You can either fly or take the train to/from London -- or you could rent a car and drive, but it will be a long, long drive each way. People drive fast (like 80-85 mph) on the motorways (the main dual-carriage highways designated M), but once you get onto the secondary roads in the highlands it's very difficult to make time.

Of the two main Scottish cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, I'd definitely choose Edinburgh. You can take the train from Edinburgh (or drive if you rent a car) to any of several lovely smaller towns, such as in the Trossachs or the Cairngorms, or on the coast such as near St. Andrews. There are probably 100 castles in Scotland so no problem finding ones to visit. And lots of people go to Scotland for the walking (what Americans call hiking), including families with small children. Just be prepared for rain at any given time.

Posted by
50 posts

Thank you! We'll see if we are brave enough to give it a go. ;) Dunkels looks nice- is it feasible to take a day trip from there to Glencoe or the eastern part of the Trossachs? Or is the going just too slow on the back roads?

Posted by
5678 posts

you could easily get to the Trossachs from Dunkeld. I would do the route through Aberfeldy.